“Doodlers Unite!” I have joined the revolution…

Sacred JoyI’m writing today in response to yet another great prompt in my Quest 2015 project. There’s still time to get involved. You will not regret taking on this challenge. There are some amazing, brave, talented people that are questing with me and you will be inspired by them and their individual quests for 2015.

Today’s prompt comes from visionary, Sunni Brown. Who asks: “How could you make moments of joy a sacred priority in 2015? What forms will such moments take? Doodle, draw, photograph, or write your way into these questions and share your responses.”

I sat on this for a bit and was reluctant to share anything because I have always considered myself a non-artistic kind of gal. As my drawing clearly shows, I have never gotten beyond stick figures. I was more than slightly embarrassed about sharing this – especially when many of my fellow Questers are artists, for real, it’s how they create and make a living in this world. (Gulp.)

Before I could even consider writing into this prompt, let alone drawing into this prompt, I needed to see what Sunni and her “Doodle Revolution” was all about. So, I watched her Ted Talk, “Doodlers Unite!” – and you should, too. It’s short and sweet but very powerful especially for me as an educator. She says people who doodle retain 29% more information than their non-doodling counterparts. Doodling helps you maintain focus, not lose it. Sunni talks about how doodling helps to engage all 4 types of learning (visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic) at the same time.

In order for information to be retained, you must engage at least 2 of these modalities at once or 1 modality coupled with an emotional response. Sunni says that when you add doodling into the learning process it engages all 4 modalities with the added possibility of an emotional response! Whoa – game changing moment for me here!

As an educator, who has a class of very engaged and motivated learners, I need to afford them the opportunity to doodle at every learning point. I don’t need to have structured writing assignments in my classes, I just need to give them paper and pens and tell them doodling is not only accepted – but encouraged.

I’ve been providing the partners in my classes with little 3 x 5 notecards for years as a way to engage them in the learning process. I encourage them to take notes if they are wanting and willing to do so, in their own handwriting and their own words so that it makes sense to them as they support the laboring woman through her birth. I collect these cards every week and add to them so that by the end of a series, every partner in the room has a little take-home “notebook” on a keychain that can fit in their back pocket for labor and delivery.

Every time I collect these cards, I’m amazed at the level of doodling that goes right along with the information they are capturing. But not every partner is a notetaker. I’ll bet many more of them are doodlers! From now on, I’ll be handing out these little notecards expressly encouraging them to doodle throughout the class – recognizing that they’re not being rude or ignoring me, but instead increasing their amount of learning and retention overall. I am really excited about this discovery and I look forward to seeing how it changes things up in my classroom.

Thanks again to Sunni Brown for this prompt and the Tracking Wonder team for creating the Quest 2015 program. I thought I’d be digging deep for my own benefit, but to discover fantastic new ways of working things into how I do business not-as-usual is a complete bonus!

For the record, (and as narrative to my primitive doodling…) I plan to appreciate the moments we get to spend as a family even more than I do right now. Our schedules are unbelievably crazy – but somehow it still works. I’d love to see us really prioritize our relationships not just as a family unit, but also in the way we interact with each another as individuals. So there will be some good Mommy/Kiddo dates coming up in 2015 for sure. I intend to prioritize my relationships with my “framily” here in Portland. I need to carve out more time to spend with the members of my immediate community as they are so important to me and nothing shows that more than the gift of time. I need to reach out to my family that live in Indiana, North Carolina and Puerto Rico more than I have been. I’m an independent person and those who know me and love me best, accept this without question – but I need to show them how much they mean to me and how much I love them back. Actions speak louder than words. And I’m always looking for and wanting to develop new connections. I will allow myself to be open to the possibility of creating new connections that help me thrive personally and professionally in 2015. I want to write more and read more in the coming year. Lastly, I feel like nature feeds my soul. And I want to stand in awe of the natural world more frequently. So some trips to the Oregon Coast will be a priority for 2015.

What about you? How will you make moments of joy a sacred priority in 2015? I would love to read your responses and even see a few of your doodles if you’re so inclined.

Meet Barb

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